Hurry Along

I’ve had a difficult time getting the creative juices flowing this week, and my mind has been a bit more muddled than usual for some reason. So, I’m hoping this little free writing session will help me out a little.

It’s been a long week. Work is a little busier as the calendar lurches on toward the summer months, and the summer heat is coming right along with it. I am not ready for that! See…I’m one of those weird southerners that prefer  cooler weather. Spring time weather is about as warm as I want to feel. 65 to 75 degrees works just fine for me. Anything over 80 better have a stiff breeze coming with it, otherwise misery ensues. Why does summer have to hurry along so quickly?

Hey, there’s a topic. Hurrying. Let’s run with it and see where it takes us…

Do you ever just stop and think? And when you stop and think do you ever wonder why it is we are always in such a hurry? I say “we” as if you are in just as big a hurry as I am. Are you? I read a pithy meme on facebook sometime back that said something like “when did staying busy become such a glorified trait?”  I agree wholeheartedly with that statement.

But it isn’t just being busy, it’s being in a hurry. Everything is a hurry nowadays. I find it sad, ironic, and a bit humorous that everyone pines for days gone by when life was perceivably easier and things moved more slowly. Yet, the same people that wax philosophical about those long, lost days move nonstop from sunrise, or before, to sunset, or beyond, and rarely slow down long enough to see the world that is around them.

Admiittedly, I can be the world’s worst about being in a hurry. When something has to be done, I need it done immediately. If it does not get done, then I stew over it and stew over it until it gets done, so I prefer to get it done and out of the way. When I have to get somewhere, I am in a hurry to get there in order to keep from being late.  Lack of punctuality is probably my biggest pet peeve. I consider it incredibly rude to be tardy, me or anyone else.

But why?  What is the point?  What good does it do us, in the long run, to stay busy or in a hurry?

Personally, I feel much better when I am able to slow down and relax.  Sure, there is satisfaction after being busy and completing a task, but there is just something about being able to sit, take a deep breath, and just look around at the world in which I live. I feel calm and collected. Then at some point, it begins all over again.  A task presents itself and needs to be accomplished as quickly as possible, usually to be followed by another one. Instead of enjoying life, it becomes a contest.  Get the task done in the appropriate amount of time, and I win!

But…win what?

What is the prize?

I previously posted about a list of things that we are supposed to do as we develop and our minds and bodies mature, but it seems like I forgot to add one…

Apparently, we are supposed to stay busy.  I don’t know where that rule is written down, or any of the rules for that matter; but in order to be a good and decent person, we have to keep busy.  We always have to be doing something “productive.”

It does feel good and satisfying to complete a task.  The harder and more demanding the task, the better it feels when it comes to fruition.  However, that pleasure does not come until I take a moment to slow down and reflect on what I did and how I did it.  Why did I take on the task, though?  And beyond its completion, is the task or the results of the task going to give me satisfaction? And how long is that satisfaction going to last?

All good questions I think, and I bet the answers are just as good. Of course, every task that I perform serves a very important purpose, brings immense satisfaction, and that satisfaction lasts ’til infinity and beyond.  It’s true.  Every bit of it.

Now my body is telling me that I better hurry up and get the coffee going so I can relax and enjoy it once it is done!

Have a great weekend!

 

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Ahhhhh…

There is nothing better than waking up on a Saturday morning and knowing that I don’t really have anything that I have to do.  I can take my time, abandon my morning rituals and just be.

I have time to enjoy the splendor of a perfect Spring morning.  I can spend a few moments in quiet solitude before the rest of the world wakes up around me.  I am able to spend good quality time with those most important to me.

I can do what I’m doing now…just sitting in my papasan chair with my feet on a foot stool and relax.

There are things that need to be done, and probably will get done, but there is no hurry.  Not today.

My wife is relaxing.  Our dogs are being lazy.  We stay on the run, so there will be little running today.  A walk probably, but no running.  There is plenty of that throughout the week.

Do you want to know what one of my very favorite things is about Saturday mornings?

This…

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I’m a big fan of coffee.  Huge fan, actually.  You can call me an addict, and you would not be far off.

Now during the week, I drink the cheap stuff.  Chock Full o’ Nuts out of the automatic coffee maker straight into my travel cup for work with French vanilla creamer.  It takes no time, little effort, and tastes decent.

On weekend mornings I am able to create coffee heaven.  We have a French press, and thanks to my wife’s sister, who just happens to live in Italy, we have been shown the deliciousness that is good coffee.

I can take my time.  Heating the water on the stove to the perfect temperature, just before boiling, and adding it to the caffeiney goodness that awaits in the bottom of the press.  As that sits and steeps, I warm my milk on the stovetop just enough and with my immersion blender make the delicious foamy heaven that adds a little extra specialness that is the weekend.  A dash of vanilla extract in the bottom of the cup prior to pouring the coffee and steamed milk makes a perfect cup of coffee that much more perfect.  The whole process from warming the water to consuming heaven itself takes about 12 to 15 minutes, and is the perfect start to a perfect day.

What do you do with your Saturday mornings?

 

The Best Idea Ever….EVER

I have the writing bug this morning, but no clear topic on which to write, so please bear with me.  Sometimes it is just better for me to put some words down on paper or screen, as it were, than to let them just keep swirling around the abysmal black hole that is my mind. Good, earth shattering ideas or thoughts come up all the time, and are immediately lost without the opportunity for the greater humanity to even catch a glimpse.

Right now, it’s hot. I mean hot. I’m talking over 100 degrees hot because the weather cannot make up its mind on whether it wants to stay cool or get warm, so the ancient prehistoric HVAC system at work is having a more than difficult time adjusting to the schizophrenic temperature changes. I could go on and on about that, but you would bore quickly…let’s just leave it that I am hot and tired of my clothes sticking to me.

Now that you have that wonderful image branded into your imagination, word has it that the NBA has helped confirm that there are still racists living among us in the good ol US of A. Some say the douchecanoe was set up, but does that really matter? If you’re going to be a racist, own up to it. You apparently have principles. Stick by them and let others know what they are, otherwise you’re just a douchecanoe that sells out your principles and resides below those loud and proud racists that inhabit the lower levels of human decency, but at least they are principled.

There’s a nutjob out in Nevada that wants to take on the Federal government that has apparently garnered quite the following. To him and his followers I say bring it on. I think history shows what happens to those that pick a fight with the government of the United States. Put up or shut up. We’re tired of your grandstanding. Your moment in the spotlight is over. Your fifteen seconds are up. Shit or get off the pot. Think of it this way…we Americans are proud of the strength of our fighting forces, our men and women in uniform. We dare countries to get in our way or fuck with us. Do you think for one minute that the same fighting force that represents the physical might of the United States government, the same fighting force that eats sovereign nations for breakfast, will blink more than once when it comes time to bite instead of bark. Get over yourself. Pay your fines, shut your mouth and move on.

And there it is…Damn, we are a petulant, whiney bunch of people. Note, I said we. We whine about everything…EVERYTHING. We whine about the government. We whine about food quality and food standards. We whine about the media. We whine about popular culture. We whine about how people with which we disagree suck. We whine about gas prices. We whine about food prices. We whine about rising prices. We whine about global warming. We whine about evolution. We whine about creationism. We whine about schools. We whine about common core. We whine about racists. We whine about religion. We whine about atheists. We whine about abortion. We whine about pro-life. We whine about pro-choice. We whine.

Some people get paid a lot to whine about this stuff to us, and we LISTEN TO IT. We choose to listen to whining. We don’t listen to, or read, coherent, well put together arguments. We listen to, or read, the whining…the fractious pissing and moaning that goes on and on and on and on ad nausem. And these people know it. They know that we are too lazy to think for ourselves or too busy to do the grunt work and research a topic about which we may or may not care. They know that we are intellectually weak because schools don’t teach to think anymore, just how to do things through rote memorization.

Why? Because that is the easy way, just like taking the media’s word for it. It’s easier to just listen to someone blather on endlessly about utter ridiculousness rather than put the time in ourselves to come to an informed and rational conclusion.

Read a book. Read a few books. Can’t find a book that supports your point of view. Bullshit. You are not looking hard enough, and you are not looking hard enough because you don’t care enough to look for it. Listen to lectures. Go to presentations. Research on your own.

We are all guilty of it for one reason or another. There are people out there working for the cause or principle you believe in. If you believe in it so much, help do something about it. Write. Speak. Converse. Donate. Rally. Dream. Act on it, and be constructive.

If some douchebag decides to start a pissing contest with you, cut them off. They, or their pissing and moaning are not worth it. Whining promotes only whining. Pissing and moaning only promote more pissing and moaning. Anything deconstructive. Disengage. It has taken me some time to learn that, and I am the better for it.

This is the third time I’ve noted this quote on this blog…

Be the change you want to see.

Make your voice heard and follow through with constructive action. It doesn’t have to be big. The smallest of actions can create huge reactions.

There is no better time than the present.

I know there are those out there that already work for what they believe, and they believe in a cause, or causes, greater than themselves, and I applaud them all. It is time for the rest of us to follow their examples.

I guess the problem is that we all want different things. Well, really, we all want the same things…just different ways of achieving the same goals. Perhaps in talking to one another and acting, we can find some common ground, something on which to build.

There are a lot of ways this can go. Which way do you want it to go?

It took some time, but my rambling finally made it somewhere. Where it goes beyond this, who knows?

 

Severe Miscalculation

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Since Sunday, maybe even before, my little corner of the world has been warned of some extremely bad weather coming our way on Tuesday and lasting through Wednesday.  If you follow the weather the way I do, then you know of the devestation and loss of life throughout the south due to the same weather that is supposed to be hitting us in north-central North Carolina. So like any weather geek with multiple weather apps on their phone and ipad, and weather sites bookmarked on their computer, I have been glued to them all…

watching…

waiting…

expecting…

I even began planning what I would do should an emergency present itself due to the weather. If at work, make my way to the central hallway or meeting room that is centrally located in the facility. If at my parents’ picking up my dog after work, make way to either of the bathrooms (the basement is full of instruments of death should 300 mph winds come about). If at my apartment, find solace in the bedroom closet with my better half and our dogs.

See…all figured out. Safety first, as they say.

The anticipation is almost gut-wrenching!

What you may not know about me is that I am a nut for thunderstorms. I love them. Always have. I enjoy sitting, or standing, out on the porch (covered of course) and watching the lightning flash and the wind blow and the rain pour from the sky. Sure, I get spooked from time to time and common sense prevails, telling  me to get my ass inside, and more often than not, I listen. I’m not without at least a little working gray matter upstairs. But, I love thunderstorms, so a sick and twisted part of me gets all giddy when I see a severe thunderstorm watch come up on my little weather apps…a severe thunderstorm warning is something akin to Christmas Eve. I know… there is something wrong with me. You don’t have to say anything.

You can imagine the level of anticipation I was feeling yesterday when I checked my weather apps first thing yesterday morning. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ALL DAY TUESDAY AND ALL DAY WEDNESDAY…lots of yellow, orange, and red on the future-cast radar…80% 90% 95% 100% chances for the foreseeable future. Call me a kid at the candy store with mom’s credit card.

Excitedly, as excitedly as first thing in the morning prior to coffee, I went through my strict weekday morning routine and headed off to meet the day ahead, watching the horizon and nearby sky for hints of the impending shit storm that was to be coming our way.

I drop my dog off…

Nothing.

I get to work…

Nothing.

Not so much as a little gust of wind. A little drizzle, which, I do not have to tell you, is about as annoying as it gets when it comes to weather…you can just never get the windshield wipers to wipe at the perfect interval.

Immediately, I check the weather.  The severe weather has been pushed back to beginning at lunch.

Great.

I check again at lunch time…it has been pushed back to starting during the midafternoon.

Check again at midafternoon, around 3ish, pushed back to dinnertime.

Check again…check again…check again…check again…

Pushed back…pushed back…pushed back…pushed back…

You can imagine my displeasure.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad my entire world has not been blown away. I’m glad I still have my life, my wife, my dogs, and my stuff. BUT not even a rumble of thunder…hell…not even a strong gust of wind…bigger hell…not even a gust of wind…barely a breeze…just dull, boring, gross gray sky and drizzle.  DRIZZLE!

My wife stayed at her place of business last night, being the good boss and facility director she is, in case anything catastrophic happened. I stayed home with my dog, expecting at any moment to be awakened by a freight train of wind and to hurry into the closet. I woke up multiple times to check the radar and the forecast to see that, again and again, the storms were pushed back. No awakening to rumbles of thunder or flashes of lightning or the pelting of rain or hail on the window by the bed, and awakening to the dull gray sky, the same sky I saw all day yesterday, this morning.

I know predicting the weather is not a perfect science, far from it. Lots of unpredictable things happen in a seemingly predictable world, but…damn (I was hoping to be a little more profound, but that’s all I’ve got).

I’m still looking at that gray sky now…still waiting…still watching…still checking…though expecting less and less.

Relax…

 

imageI came across this litte gem a few days ago on Facebook, and a thought came to my mind…

Who on earth wants to be an adult?

Maybe I was a weird kid, but the last thing on my mind was wanting to become an adult.  Work, bills, a mortgage, rent, car payments that seem to never end (like a mortgage), health insurance, and a plethora of other things adults have to handle were NOT my aspiration.  Oh, and kids and raising a family…definitely were not on my to do list when I was 15.  Truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted at all at that time.

When I turned 18 and graduation loomed on the horizon, I knew I wanted to go to college, and I thought I knew what I wanted to do.  As it happens, I was wrong, as are a lot of teenagers. I know a lot of folks that did know what they wanted to do, and have done it. I even know some that began doing what they wanted to do, saw that it wasn’t up to the snuff they thought, and then found other things to do.

The fact of the matter is that too many are in too damn big a hurry, and… AND, this little piece of wisdom illustrates, there are things that people are supposed to do as they come of age.

We are supposed to become adults.

We are supposed to raise a family.

We are supposed to have a career.

All of those came before living life without failing at it.

There is my thought in a nutshell. Life is not about the things we are supposed to do. There is more to living than that. Living is doing what you enjoy and figuring that out for yourself. I’m learning that slowly.

I am big on routine, so big on it that my most regimented routines are more like rituals. If one piece of the routine goes wrong, then chances are my whole day is screwed.

I like plans. I love it when a plan falls perfectly into place and runs itself flawlessly. If one part of the plan comes undone, then panic mode immediately sets in, impatience ensues, and the world as I know it comes to a grim and bitter end.

Some may think I’m being a bit melodramatic. Just ask my wife if that is an overstatement. I’m working on it though, It helps that my wife is the most spontaneous and erratic individual that has ever graced the earth.

It comes and goes, more going than coming at this point, but my patience with life will grow. My patience with living life will overcome. I will survive.

The rituals and knowing what we are supposed to do may make life easier and more manageable, but it does not necessarily make it better. One never, ever knows what is coming around the corner.

So, I would boil down this little proverb into two words.

Relax. Live.

That is all we really have to do.

Perfection, even if the coffee sucked!

This weekend was perfect, and I mean perfect in every sense of the word. Perfect weather, perfect timing, and a perfect partner. Everything about it was perfect. I cannot think of anything that could have made it better.

I have missed it…the feeling of no cares or worries. Nothing about work, no bad news concerning family. Just me and mine enjoying a perfect weekend together…just the two of us! Good food. Good times. Good drink. And the best company.

I cannot believe how well the weather cooperated. It seems like the rest of North Carolina went straight to severe weather hell, but not Charlotte. Perfect weather for a late afternoon walk to dinner. Perfect weather for catching a ballgame and perfect, PERFECT, weather for the late night walk back to the hotel…not to mention the perfet weather we had all day on Saturday for the many miles walked around downtown.

Well, there was one thing that was not perfect…the coffee (or so it was called) from Dean and Deluca…awful…plain awful…the antithesis of perfect, but that did NOT destroy the weekend or even the morning, but damn, it was awful. Needless to say, I am not friends with either Dean or Deluca…good riddance, and take your shitty coffee with you!

Beyond that misery that was supposed to be coffee, there is not a single thing that I can think of that would have made the weekend better, and that is the way weekends should be!

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Impulse

“Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know…” ~Jerry Mac

Though based on a quote by Will Rodgers, I’ll give Jerry the credit…

Just browsing my facebook status feed and came across this gem posted by a friend of mine, and thought about how it relates to something else I have been working on.  I’m doing some soul searching of sorts; attempting to discern what is needed versus what is wanted. What makes it so hard is the fact that, with a little ingenuity, one can justify pretty much anything they want as a necessity.  I do it often…not necessarily to impress anyone, but to add a little “pop” to my life or to make my life easier or to make it possible to do the things I want to do.

I can be an impulse shopper.  I try not to be, but it happens. Usually the way it goes is I see something I want and I say, “I’ve got to have that,” or, “I’ve got to try that.”  Usually, or maybe sometimes, my brain kicks in and searches out the necessity of what it is I’m seeking to purchase. It will find a reason most of the time. I may not be able to buy it right away, but it goes into the bookmark file of my computer or in the back of my mind as something that will be purchased at some point in time.

I’m going to leave it at that for now because I don’t want to get into a thought that I haven’t fully worked through just yet. 

Need vs. Want is complicated!

A Muddled Thought from a Muddled Mind

So, I’ve been writing a bit more lately, both on here and in my little notebook of observations, quips, and thoughts. I’ve been reading, too…  A LOT.

I’ve come to learn that there are more than a few good writers out there, and by out there, I mean…well….out there. Wherever there is.  I read stuff that makes me chuckle. I read stuff that makes me think. Stuff that makes me smile. I’ve come across sad stuff, fun stuff, happy stuff, and other stuff.

I like it.

Different styles.  Different points of view. Different people.  It is all entertaining, informative, and educational.

I see writers that break the rules. I see writers that keep to the rule book.  I keep the rules I want and throw the others out, especially when doing my free writing. It makes it fun!

I’m working on something that is going to take some time to put together…time and a lot more thought than I have used in a long time. It may even require a little research.

I need more time in the day.

This whole “work” thing gets in the way.

I’ve got lots and lots to say.

But the lack of hours and minutes

keeps my fingers at bay.

And with that, I will end this little free writing session.

Looking out the Window at Work…

It’s a slow day, so I thought, “why not write?”

Truth is, I am bored at work. I mean…really bored.  So this will end up being a bunch of rubbish from start to finish. Sometimes I just like the feeling of typing something out. Always have. I can remember when I was a kid and our old Tandy computer with no games on it. I would find my way to the word processor and just start typing. Nothing of any real consequence (like this), but just typing. Maybe not even real words, just jibberish like this…

ajkekmenjdn dikenyeooie ,fnliha wusndimfb vi fjknf fhjs nsl,fnlufhyrnosnuemdnaha.

I don’t know why. It is just something I would do when I was bored…kind of like now.

There is somethng that has me thinking this morning, but I’m not quite sure I am ready to tackle it just yet. I did leave a bit of a cliffhanger with one of my previous posts asking what do I want to see concerning being the change one wants to see in the world.

As I sit here at work, that comes across my mind as a pretty complex question, and one that I probably shouldn’t try to answer, but sometimes it’s good to go with your gut. So here goes…

What do I want to see?

I want to see a world without apathy. I want to see a world where people care about something beyond themselves and their wants. I want people to consider others when they make decisions. I want more empathy in the world. I want to see more people care for one another. I want a world without labels. I want a world that is inhabited by human beings. Not Europeans. Not Americans. Not Asians or Mexicans or Latinos or Hispanics or Whites or Blacks or Chinese or Japanese or Italians or Greeks or Germans or Turks or Iraqis or Iranians or Christians or Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus or Sikhs or Eskimos or Canadians (don’t ask me why Canadians came up last. I don’t know). I want to see people live according to their fullest potential and see them happy doing so.  I want to see myself living according to my fullest potential and be happy doing so. I want to see a world without regret. I want to see others living without regret. I want to see others and myself learning from those regrets and no longer regretting them. I want the poor to no longer be poor. I want the sick to be healthy. I want to see it snow. I want to see the sun shine. I want to see it rain. I want to see the wind blow. I want to see the sun rise and set. I want to see the moon.  I want to see the ocean and the tides.  I want to see a world where possibilities are realities everyday. And right now, at this very moment, I want to see food because I am starting to get hungry.

What do you want to see?

More on Living and Being Alive

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about this since posting it yesterday.  I always come back to one glaring question.  When the writer talks about “life” and “aliveness,” what, exactly, is he talking about?

To most evangelical Christians, or maybe I’m just inferring or assuming this, but to most evangelicals, the life being talked about is the life given where one is “born again” in Christ.  Essentially, having been saved through the Spirit and decided to live more according to the rules set forth within the Bible or the Church.

However, when I consider other things the writer has written, I know that to not be the case.

Everyone, saved or not, has the ability to live this life.  Everyone can receive it, and we can all bring it to others. What the writer is referring to is the idea of the awakened soul or the self-actualized person.  Each lives to their fullest potential, using the gifts we have to bring positive and constructive purpose and change to the world around them.

Imagine a world where everyone was awake within…feeling alive and, as the writer states, bringing “aliveness” to others.

I admit the idea seems less than realistic.  Not everyone could possibly tap into their full potential, right?

Well…

Why Not???

Personally, I believe it has to do with one word and one word alone…

FEAR

I admit it.  I fear a lot, and fear holds me back.  What is it that I fear most of all??

Failure.

FAILURE!

There is nothing that will bring me to a halt more quickly than believing that I will fail.  Nothing crushes my hopes quite like the realization that failure is possible.

For a long, long time I have called myself a realist, and I base that on knowing that failure and disappointment are real.  They exist, and they matter.

But for those living at their fullest potential, does that matter?

I struggle with this, I admit.  I am well set in my “realist” ways, and those ways are difficult to break.  I’m working on it, though, and I’m sure I can get there.

One thing is for sure.  The state of mind is much, much more pleasant and infinitely more free, and THAT is what matters!